Good environmental management requires a life cycle perspective
Implementing corporate environmental management successfully is a challenging task in any company. But the effort is worthwile: Establishing an environmental management system, for example certified to ISO 14001 or EMAS, leads to a clear competitive advantage nowadays, since various stakeholders expect companies not only to commit themselves to sustainability, but also to implement environmental protection operationally.
Central elements of an environmental management system:
Making environmental impacts measurable for a clear definition of environmental objectives
In order to define achievable environmental goals, knowledge about the current environmental performance should be available as a first step. The relevant environmental aspects must be made measurable, i.e. if your environmental goals focus on the reduction of CO2 emissions, then the current emissions should be calculated in order to set realistic reduction targets.
In order to make the strategy for achieving the targets verifiable, specific environmental indicators must be derived. In the EMAS environmental management system, for example, these are divided into six key areas: Energy efficiency, material efficiency, water, waste, biological diversity and emissions.
Especially for the quantification of environmental performance and the life cycle approach, numerous data, figures and facts have to be evaluated. The good news: there is specialized environmental management software available to save you time, money and nerves.
You cannot manage what you cannot measure.
Assessing environmental performance over the entire life cycle
Since the ISO 14001 revision in 2015, the quantification and evaluation of improvement measures is not only required on a site-specific basis, but also requires a life cycle perspective. The aim is to consider not only the direct environmental impacts within the company, but also the indirect ones along the value chain.
With Umberto LCA+, one of the leading software solutions for life cycle assessment (LCA), you can master this topic. The tool's focus: Creating transparency, modelling product life cycles graphically and making environmental performance measurable - because you can't manage what you can't measure.
Umberto LCA+ supports your environmental management with the following methods:
- CO2 balances to determine the climate impact for your products and your entire company (Product Carbon Footprint and Corporate Carbon Footprint)
- Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to calculate further environmental impacts beyond the climate impact (e.g. soil acidification, etc.)
Derive and implement improvement measures
In addition to the environmental objectives, the measures to achieve these must also be described in detail in an environmental management system. In the 2015 revision of the ISO 14001 norm, the improvement and measurement of environmental performance was given even greater emphasis in the form of new corresponding indicators. These environmental performance indicators help to monitor the continuous improvement of environmental performance.
A continuous improvement process (CIP) can be established through the cycle of planning, executing and monitoring improvement measures. The environmental management software Umberto can support you here as well. You can simulate and compare improvement measures with the software. Based on this, you can make well-founded decisions about which measure(s) are best suited to achieve your environmental goals. With Umberto, you can even evaluate how cost-efficient your planned measures are.
Software for your environmental management system – Umberto LCA+
Our goal is to support your environmental management system with professional software that can calculate environmental impacts over the entire life cycle of your products. With Umberto LCA+, the software support for your environmental management system, you can overcome various environmental management challenges:
- Support at every stage of ISO 14001: Umberto LCA+ makes environmental performance and its improvement transparent to internal and external stakeholders at every stage – even in complex production systems and global value chains.
- Evaluation of options: Umberto LCA+ forms the database for your decisions and shows you which measures are best suited to achieve your reduction targets.
- Application in environmental audits (eco-audit): Umberto LCA+ checks where your company has interfaces with the environment and quantifies them.
- Promotion of the continuous improvement process: Umberto LCA+ helps you to achieve your environmental goals and documents your success towards ISO 14001 certification.
Would you like to learn more about the specific features, benefits and potential areas of application of Umberto LCA+?
Umberto – The software for a flexible environmental management system
What is environmental management?
A lot of companies have already introduced an energy management system in order to increase energy efficiency and use resources more carefully. This is already a good start; however, a clear definition of environmental goals becomes more and more important. Customers, government agencies, and the public all expect that companies commit themselves to the principles of sustainability. That is why companies with a certified environmental management system based on ISO standards have a distinct competitive advantage.
What is an environmental management system?
Environmental management systems consist of many different subsystems. Among them are pollution control and waste management (see also material flow cost accounting). While companies using an environmental management system based on ISO 14001 do not have to file a specific environmental statement form as is required for EMAS, they are still required to report on their environmental performance. Since 2017, all businesses (in the EU) with more than 500 employees have to file a non-financial report on environmental matters (see Directive 2014/95/EU).
Implementing a successful environmental management system
A successful environmental management system involves planning, execution, control, and optimization. The Umberto LCA+ software tool supports you in implementing each of these processes. The goal is to create system transparency for all the different internal and external stakeholders through visualizations that detail each phase of the environmental performance improvement process.
Umberto LCA+ can also help with the initial environmental audit of an operation. The first step is to check for all possible interfaces between a business and the environment. Understanding these crucial relationships becomes easy when using one of Umberto's software models. During the second step, these interfaces will be quantified.
The issue of compliance is yet another requirement for an environmental management system. It focuses on compliance with government regulations, such as statutory thresholds for pollution. This also includes document control standards. Documentation of continuous improvement in a company's environmental performance is needed for EMAS environmental reports as well as other sustainability reports such as ones based on GRI standards. Both compliance and sustainability reporting are not part of our software package.